Mayo is Ireland's third biggest county and an exciting blend of rugged mountain trails and beautiful beaches set in the Western coastline. With a host of small villages dotted about the coastal area Mayo is suited to people trying to indulge themselves away from civilisation. But with large towns like Ballina and Westport it's modern and vibrant enough to boats a great nightlife.
Mayo also includes Ireland's largest island. Achill Island is accessible from the mainland by bridge. Its magnificent sandy beaches, sea cliffs and warm hospitality bring visitors back again and again for holidays. The famous Atlantic Drive takes you on a journey of scenic splendour, a must for all visitors to Achill. For the more adventurous Achill boasts no less than two adventure centres which offer the best in windsurfing, sailing, abseiling, diving and many other activities.
Watersports are popular all over the county. Whether on the coast or by the idyllic shores of Loughs Corrib, Carra, and Mask, freshwater fishing and angling are hugely popular. And whole those who like to fish do so there is a wealth of wildlife on the coast or in the lakes. Tours are available of favourite haunts of everything from otters to dolphins. The town of Westport is especially suitable for those with a love of fishing no matter what style or type you prefer.
Mayo also contains one of the world's most famous sites of religious pilgrimage in Knock. The Marian Shrine there is visited every year by hundreds of thousands of people and an airport was built to cater to the increasing number of visitors. The remnants of early Christian settlements and colonies are to be found all over the county and the experience of visiting these sites of ancient Irish heritage is fascinating.
Ballina is Mayo's largest town and has a rich variety of pubs and nightclubs with a range of suitable accommodation to suit anyone's budget. Ballina is also host to one of Ireland's major summer festivals, the Ballina Salmon Festival held in second week of July every year and it's certainly a reason to visit if you're in the country at the time.
The west of Ireland is a place of serene unspoilt beauty. Mayo's crystal clear lakes and rivers are a prime example of the beauty that awaits you in one of the garden spots of Ireland.
Features on Places to visit in Mayo• Storm-tossed and full of beautyMalcolm Rogers heads west for a tour of Achill Island. • The azure home of the Pirate QueenTO rekindle his fond childhood memories of visiting Mayo, Malcolm Rogers travelled westwards and found the same magnificent scenery and unchanging tradition.•Way out west in Co MayoDiscover one of Ireland’s most beautiful and entrancing areas in a distant corner of Co Mayo.